Thursday, May 9, 2013

Who am I as a writer?

Revising who I am as a writer was never a question until lately. I've always been a storyteller. Stories require words, usually many words, but only as many as are required to tell the story. I've always resisted being a poet as opposed to being a storyteller, first on the premise that I hated poetry (which isn't really true. I just hate BAD poetry, which there is a lot of!) second that I wasn't a good poet (what do teachers say about practice, hmm?) and third for some reason I couldn't quite put a finger on until just recently.

Without going into gory details, life happens: feelings boil over, bodies fail, and you find yourself at a point in your life where you're dealing with emotional and physical issues that are literally life-changing. I have found myself lately unable to deal with these very personal issues in story form, but instead, they reveal their coping strategies to me in verse. Verse? Poetry? Huh?

You see, for me, poetry is a very personal, very visceral thing. It cuts to the core of who I am and reveals not just my heart, but the atoms that hold me together. I have no characters to hide behind, no plot to re-direct the reader, no scenery to distract. It's. All. Me. And when it comes to poetry, apparently I have intimacy issues with my readers. If you laugh at my story character when he's supposed to be serious, I can take that and re-write it, no problem. If you laugh at my poetry when I'm pouring my life-blood into your hands because it hurts too much to keep it inside, then, we have a problem, Houston. Yeah. Intimacy issues. Thought I was over that a LONG time ago. Guess not.

So my revision issues now are to try to allow myself to take up poetry as an expression, first, then second, (and more difficult) allow others to read it and help me revise it to the point it's good enough to share with the public. Definitely a cold dish today, folks. Possibly even frozen. Where's the defrost setting on my microwave?